Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

10 Jul 2020

From here to sustainability

Posted by Michael Keating

In its report, Our Common Future, the World Commission on Environment and Development, known as the Brundtland Commission, said in 1987 that the world had to move to sustainable forms of development to avoid ecological collapse. In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which included the Earth Summit, produced Agenda 21, a 40-chapter guide for business and government policies, and for personal choices to put the world on a sustainable pathway. In 2015, the United Nations agreed on The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 sustainable development goals and 169 specific targets. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given clear targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change. So, we have widespread agreement on goals and targets. What we need is a detailed set of plans to build a sustainable world. We have known for years that we need to reduce our use of energy and materials and to try to recycle our old products. We can build more efficient, cars, buildings, have cleaner energy and less polluting food production. But to make these mainstream, more people must demand them. We need more innovation and leadership from business. Governments must set rules that make clean and green the norm not the exception. As we try to restart the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a chance to change direction and not return to business as usual.

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